(AWA Logo) Climb and Run For Wilderness
Site search provided by Google
Sponsor a Climber
--- ---
Search for a 2015 climber:
Corporate sponsors
Proud event in the WFGT Towerrunning Challenge 2014
Proud event in the 2014 Towerrunning World Cup
Proud event in the Towerrunning
World Cup
and the WFGT
Towerrunning Challenge 2014
The Climb and Run for Wilderness is a Zero Waste Event
This event is Bullfrog Powered with 100% green electricity

The Climb and Run for Wilderness is a premiere community event celebrating Earth Day. It is suited to folks of any age from babies in backpacks to 93 year olds and attracts participants from across North America. Last year more than 1,500 registered participants and in addition many more accompanying parents and supporters attended.  The Climb and Run for Wilderness is a family oriented athletic event which includes major additional components of education about the environment and the creation of public art. A family day, a corporate challenge day, a fun time, and a serious opportunity to test one’s personal best are all combined in this Earth Day event.

The 24th annual climb will be held on Saturday, April 18, 2015! Mark your calendar now!

Please see the climb and run page for more information about the event.


Registrations for the 2015 Climb and Run for Wilderness Will Open in January 

Hello, eager climbers!!

We have some exciting changes in store for the 2015 Climb and Run for Wilderness, including some new and revamped events, and a brand new website!

We can all hardly contain our excitement... but we have a few more details to work out until we’re quite ready for “the big reveal” and to open up registrations for the 2015 event.

We hope to have registrations up and running sometime in January, and in the meantime hope you can sit tight for a couple of more weeks.

If you’d like us to send you a reminder notification when registrations are open, feel free to give us a call at (403) 283-2025, or you can sign up to receive the C4W newsletter — we will be sure to send out an alert as soon as everything’s ready.

Thanks for your interest, and as always, hope to see you on the stairs!


C4W 2014 Wrap-up Report 

As we wrap up another successful Climb and Run for Wilderness, we want to close out the same way we kicked everything off all those months ago... with a giant

Thank You!

Thank you to the sponsors, to the climbers and the runners; thank you to the entertainers and volunteers; thank you to the spectators and the media; thank you to the friends and family and other valued supporters; and thank you to you!

Every one of you was a vital part of the success of the 2014 Climb and Run for Wilderness. There were about 1500 folks involved on the day of the event, not counting the hundreds and thousands of online sponsors and other supporters... and everyone came together to help make this, once again, the Best Earth Day Event in the West!

What a great event!

Here are a couple of highlights and firsts from this year that deserve a special shout-out:

  • Our new partnership with the Carbon Farmer was a great opportunity for climbers to have a tree planted in their name in the AWA forest, gain a little carbon credit, and lend a personal helping hand to maintaining the health of our boreal forest. If you made it to the top of the tower this year but didn’t get the chance to stop in at the Carbon Farmer booth, drop them a line to let them know and you can have a tree planted in your name too!
  • Our Zero Waste initiative was a pretty big challenge for this event and we almost did it! The single bag of refuse was the extent of our garbage; all other waste was composted or recycled! This meant that our diversion rate was 89%, which is pretty close to zero waste; our continuing challenge will be making it to 100% in 2015.Congratulations everyone for participating in our Zero Waste initiative and thanks to Green Calgary for auditing the waste and helping us meet the challenge.
  • Together with our partner the Calgary Tower, a member of the World Federation of Great Towers (WFGT), we participated as one segment of the WFGT Towerrunning Challenge 2014. An amazing 5 hours of endurance racing and 28 repeated climbs of the 802 stairs saw Jonathan Heinz take the Calgary Tower’s prize of a return airfare to Vienna, Austria, to compete in the final race of the WFGT Towerrunning Challenge, up the steps of the Danube Tower.

The day was also filled with the inspiration of many folks including:   

  • Dr. Richard Guy, 97 years young, who climbed the stairs twice
  • The Fricke Family, who were awarded the Margaret and Jerry Hall Outstanding Family Award for their years of participation and involvement in the event and with AWA
  • 4 year old Abigail Hadden, who raised more than $2000 from family and friends and many trips to the bottle depot
  • Sue Verbeek, who was awarded the Will Farrington Memorial Award as our Outstanding Volunteer
  • Erin Beattie and the Calgary Tower staff and Security Services, who provided invaluable help throughout the day and in the weeks leading up to the event
  • Shannon Magee, who completed a gruelling 22 climbs in 5 hours
  • The Overend Family (Bill, Patti, Sam and Alex), who raised more than $10,000
  • Zivadin Zivkovic, who travelled from San Diego just to participate
  • Megan Bankes, in the youth 15-18 category, who completed an amazing 19 climbs
  • The Pink Panthers youth team (Jasdeep Sandhu, Balijot Parmar, Harmeen Mander and Harsimran Sandhu), who completed a combined 20 climbs and took home the Youth Team Spirit Award
  • The Markit Lynx Team (Mike Cullingham, Chuck Herr, Ian Graham and Matthew Moore), who completed a combined 49 climbs
  • The Cenovus Energy Team A (Kirsten Pugh, Monica Ludwig, Erin Madro and Cindy Bakala), who raised $2,180 and won the Team Fundraising Award
  • Matrix Solutions Inc., who put together an awesome 7 full teams of 4
  • And so many more wonderful folks!

The prize inventory for this year was supported by more merchants than ever before. The prizes were outstanding and we hope all who were awarded prizes will take time to let our prize donors and corporate supporters know how much they are appreciated.

Entertainment at the Top of the Tower

While we are still waiting for a few more matching funds to come in, we have raised more than $110,000 at this time. More than 1,600 receipts have been issued to sponsors! These are important funds that will help us this year as we work to help others learn about wilderness and wildlife in Alberta and how to help make a difference in our environmental health and wealth in years to come.

We hope you might do one more thing to help us wrap up this year’s event. We have a short survey (it will only take 2 minutes to complete) that we hope will help us find and reach out to more people who would be interested in climbing the Calgary Tower. We want to give you a chance to let us know what was good and what you would like us to make better for the 2015 event.

Please take this link to complete the survey: https://survey.zohopublic.com/zs/m0BWof. All responses are anonymous; we do not record your name or any other personal info.

Jonathan Heinz and this year's Elite Climbers.

This and the rest of AWA's websites have many more details about the event and about our work throughout the year as well as opportunties to become involved.  You can sign up for regular news emails that will keep you posted about events and wilderness conservation concerns at the main Alberta Wilderness Association website: the sign-up form is at the bottom of the right-hand column.

"You made it!!"
Little Smoky the Bear greets climbers at the top.

From all of us at Alberta Wilderness Association, we wish you a wonderful summer and hope you will have plenty of chances to get outdoors and be active.

See you on the stairs next year!


Event draws climbers from elite athletes to toddlers to raise funds and awareness for Wild Alberta

April 26, 2014 (Calgary, AB) – A trumpet fanfare by local musician Richard Scholz and a few words by Councillor Gian-Carlo Carra kicked off the 23rd annual Climb and Run for Wilderness at 7:30 this morning. The sudden return of wintery weather did nothing to dissuade the over 1,000 enthusiastic participants, including fifteen elite athletes; babies in backpacks; families, such as MLA Dr. David Swann and his son; and long-time climb supporter Richard Guy, who is 97 this year.

The elite athletes were competing as part of the World Federation of Great Towers (WFGT) Towerrunning Challenge 2014, one of the premier tours worldwide for the sport of towerrunning. The grand prize, a return ticket to Vienna Austria, to participate in the final event of the circuit, was won by Jonathan Heinz, who narrowly beat out Ammon Piepgrass to climb the 525 feet of the Calgary Tower 28 times in the five hour allotted time-frame.

“We are always surprised and encouraged by the ingenuity and enthusiasm of our climbers who dress up, celebrate special occasions on the stairs, test their personal resolve and just have a great time realizing and celebrating how fortunate we are to live where we do,” says Christyann Olson, executive director for Alberta Wilderness Association, the organization that puts on the event every year.

For the past 23 years the Climb and Run for Wilderness has been celebrating Alberta’s wild water, wild lands and wildlife. This year nearly a thousand people ascended the 802 stairs of the tower, raising awareness and money in support of Wild Alberta. The 2014 event also featured the participation of a new climb partner, The Carbon Farmer, Inc. of CBC Television’s Dragons Den fame. The Carbon Farmer will be planting one tree in honour of every person who reached the top of the tower on their family farm near Manning Alberta, creating carbon offsets and contributing to the health of Alberta’s boreal forest.

Athletic events this year included the family “fun” climb, the elite climb forming an event in the WFGT Towerrunning Challenge 2014, and the Run for Wilderness. The run is a unique 1km road race that culminates in a climb of the tower, with the finish line at the top, taken this year in a time of 9 minutes, 57 seconds. Events in athletic, fundraising, spirit and other categories were given out by numerous VIPs including MLA Hon. Dave Rodney, who in addition to donating an award for the most climbs, also climbed the tower with his family.

The day’s festivities are also one of the only times that the public is able to enjoy the “Tallest Gallery in the West” – over 100 beautiful wilderness murals painted along the 525 vertical feet of the stairwell’s walls and one of Calgary’s truly hidden gems. These murals have been painted over the last 15 years for the annual mural competition held in conjunction with the climb.

There was also plenty of fun for the whole family throughout the day, with musicians, face painting, clowns and other entertainment. There were also more than 35 booths transforming the base of the tower into the wild and imaginative experience that is the Wild Alberta Expo, where everyone young and old was able learn about all the groups working hard to protect Alberta’s wild spaces and wildlife.

Fast facts about the 2014 Climb and Run for Wilderness:

  • $100,000 and counting raised for wilderness protection in Alberta
  • About 2,150 total ascents of the stairs over the course of the day
  • Over 1,200 people came out to support Wild Alberta, including climbers, racers, volunteers, entertainers, participants in the Wild Alberta Expo, friends, family and other spectators.
  • 27 Teams, including Cenovus, the Carbon Farmer, Suncor and Markit Financial Systems
  • Team Climb Winners: Markit Lynx, with 59 ascents between 4 members
  • Tower Running Challenge winner: Jonathan Heinz (Male); Shannon Magee (Female)
  • Oldest Climber: Richard Guy, 97 years young

Full results will be online shortly.

For more information contact:
        Lindsey Wallis, C4W Media Relations  (403) 630-1635
        Christyann Olson, AWA Executive Director  (403) 283-2025


Expo sneak peek 

This year we have more than 25 businesses and organizations registered for the Wild Alberta Expo and, as always, many great entertainers to keep your toes tapping in between climbs or while you are waiting for the elevator.

The Barbara Sherrington Memorial Prize is offered for the most outstanding display in the Wild Alberta Expo. The prize is in memory of Barbara Sherrington, a wonderful school teacher and dear friend and supporter of AWA and will be chosen based on a number of elements including: visual attractiveness; level of interest; opportunity for interaction; engagement of the public and staff; and volunteer knowledge of their programs and/or products.

Some new faces at this year’s expo include: Operation Grassland Community, Recycling Council of Alberta, and more. We are pleased to welcome back old friends Walk the Dog, Robbie and Will, Barry and Joe Hertz to entertain us on the main stage. For a complete list of booths at the Wild Alberta Expo and the entertainment schedule go to: http://www.climbforwilderness.ca/expo.php.


This year kids and kids at heart can get a photo taken with KC the bear that they can take home in a keepsake frame. Photos are $5 and all proceeds go to support the AWA.

A big thanks goes out to Nuno Fragoso who worked so hard again this year to put the expo together – the success of the event depends heavily on the hours of volunteer time put in by folks like Nuno. Thanks!!


Kick your fundraising into high gear! 

Only a week to go so it is time to kick your fundraising into high gear! We have great prizes from The Carbon Farmer and Fairmont Banff Springs, for the top fundraising team, and individual. And a fabulous inventory of prizes for athletes, those with lots of spirit and so many more.  We hope to break some records this year! Here are the record holders who you are aiming to surpass:

Most Funds Raised by an Individual:

  • Richard Guy - $4660.00 2011

Most Funds Raised by a Team:

  • EnCana - $7570.00 2003

Most Funds Raised by a Family:

  • Bill, Patti, Sam and Alex Overend - $7410.00 2011

We also have great incentives from MEC and Gords Running Store for individuals who break the fundraising thresholds of $550 and $1000.

Remember, you can collect cheques and cash directly from your friends, family and co-workers or you can direct them to your fundraising page, which can be found by typing your name here: http://www.climbforwilderness.ca/climberinfo.php

Share your page on Facebook, Twitter or by email to spread the word and raise funds for Wild Alberta.

Over 23 years, this event has raised a cumulative total of $1,868,361.18

This year we hope to break $135,000 and we can’t do it without your help! Thanks for supporting the AWA and see you all at the tower on April 26!


Why we climb 

Things are hectic around the office these days, as registration packages are put together, teams are recruited, volunteers are briefed and final preparations are made for the big day. With the whirlwind of activity it pays to take a moment to step back and remember why we work so hard each year to put this event on.

Everyone has their own reasons why they take part in the Climb and Run for Wilderness. Some folks enjoy the chance to get some exercise with friends for a good cause, or to be inspired by the beautiful murals in the tallest gallery in the West. Others, like Richard Guy (at 97, our oldest climber yet), are climbing in remembrance of a loved one. Each year Richard carries a portrait of Louise with him all 802 stairs to the top of the tower. Louise was a dear friend of the AWA and dedicated supporter of the climb. There is an annual poetry contest in her name so we can all remember her appreciation for wildness, wildlife and wild water and how willingly she gave her beautiful smile for the joy of others.

The reason others of us climb has to do with something wild. Whether it is on behalf of the sage grouse or caribou or the boreal forest or the Athabasca River or Hidden Creek or our favourite wild corner of the province that we want to remain wild, there is something about our province is very special to us and cannot disappear. All the hard work and long hours pay off when we remember all the wild and beautiful places and creatures in our province that need protection and that the funds raised from this event are for them.

Each year we collect testimonials from participants at the Climb and Run for Wilderness about what drives them to join us every year to climb the Tower and support the AWA. This year we received a note on Facebook from Tara Pettifor about why she is participating:

“Land is becoming scarce in Calgary and is being developed. We are supposed to share the land not take it all. I will do this walk again this year because I care. I want my children and grandchildren one day be able to see such beauty...I want them to help protect what matters.”

Why do you climb? Send us an email at awa@abwild.ca and tell us your story so we can share it and inspire others.




Hip hip hooray for our volunteers! 

As our biggest event of the year, the Climb and Run for Wilderness requires an army of volunteers to ensure everything runs smoothly. Everything from the coat and bag check to the registration desk, start gate and top of the tower is staffed by volunteers and they always do it with a smile! And of course moving the truckload of supplies from our office and setting up and tearing everything down is all accomplished with donated elbow grease.

Volunteers make everything run smoothly from the coat check to the tower top

Some long-time, dedicated volunteers have even taken over the hard work of organizing parts of the event. Nuno Fragoso has been looking after the organization of the Wild Alberta Expo for four years. This year we have more than 25 exhibitors, representing a wide range of businesses and organizations that are doing their part for Wild Alberta. They include, Alberta Institute for Wildlife Recovery, Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area, Bike Calgary, Calgary Wildlife Rehabilitation Society, Cows and Fish, CPAWS, EcoLiving Events, Ghost River Rediscovery, Green Calgary, MEC, Nature Calgary, Operation Grassland Community, Trout Unlimited and many more! The Barbara Sherrington Memorial Prize for the most outstanding display in the Wild Alberta Expo will be presented at the awards ceremony. The prize is in memory of Barbara Sherrington, a wonderful school teacher and dear friend and supporter of AWA and will be chosen based on a number of elements including: visual attractiveness; level of interest; opportunity for interaction; engagement of the public and staff; and volunteer knowledge of their programs and/or products.

Every year Nuno's hard work makes the Wild Alberta Expo a resounding success

Now in its 12th year, the annual mural competition is organized by another dedicated AWA supporter, Margaret Main. Thanks to Margaret’s hard work, on March 14 more murals were added to the tallest gallery in the West. No longer do climbers trudge up a blank, grey stairwell, instead they are greeted by landing after landing of Alberta’s native species in boisterous colours – a reminder of what we are climbing for each year!

Without Margaret's hard work the tower wouldn't be adorned with beautiful murals from the mural competition

Finally, we would like to recognize some of our dedicated volunteers who have been with us for more than 10 years. They include Ed Hergott, Margaret Main, Norma Ruecker, Heather Crone, Rob and Tjarda Barratt, Karin and John Groeneveld, Chris Saunders, David Weiss, Ian Fabris, Tammy Duke and so many more dedicated folks (there will be more than 100 volunteers helping on the day of the event). This event would not run without the year after year commitment of people like you. And welcome to all our new volunteers. Thank you for your support and we hope that you will continue to volunteer for many years to come!

From our youngest volunteers Willa and Sadie, to our oldest, our volunteers may come from all different backgrounds but they are united by their common love for Alberta’s wild spaces and their dedication to the AWA. We thank you for your ongoing support – we absolutely could not run this event without you!



Just a few of our fabulous volunteers for the 2014 climb


Poetry Contest Deadline Thursday 

Thursday at 10 a.m. submissions for the Louise Guy Poetry Prize will close, so get your creative juices flowing!

The contest is in honour of Louise Guy, a truly remarkable woman, who at 92 was a role model to young and old alike. Her athletic strength and endurance was exceeded only by her appreciation for wildness, wildlife and wild water and how willingly she gave her beautiful smile for the joy of others.

We are very excited this year to welcome a new supporter of the prize, Fast Forward Weekly magazine, where the winning poem will be published next week. The winning poem will also be transcribed and displayed on the walls of the Calgary Tower stairwells as a lasting tribute to Louise, her intellect, her strength and her love as well as receiving publication in the  Wild Lands Advocate, AWA’s outstanding wilderness news journal.

For more information: http://www.climbforwilderness.ca/poetrycontest.php

Richard Guy, Louise's husband, presenting the 2013 award


Calgary the Third Stop for WFGT Towerrunning Challenge after Macau, China and Tallinn, Estonia 

The winners were announced and prizes handed out in Tallinn, Estonia last Sunday at the conclusion of the Tallinn TV Tower Run, the most recent event in the World Federation of Great Towers Towerrunning Challenge 2014.

After a promotional kickoff in Macau, China at the Torre de Macau in February, and last weekend’s event in Estonia, the next stop for the WFGT Towerrunning Challenge 2014 will be AWA’s own Climb and Run for Wilderness at the Calgary Tower on Saturday April 18, 2015!

The first prize handed out in Tallinn to climbers Piotr Lobodzinski and Lenka Svabikova will be replicated at the Calgary Tower in a little over two weeks: a round trip ticket to participate in the WFGT Towerrunning Challenge 2014 final event at the Danube Tower in Vienna, Austria on January 24, 2015. (Note: previous news items had stated the final event would be in New York – this was in error and we regret any confusion caused.)

Winners accepting their prize in Tallinn on April 06
Winners accepting their prize in Tallinn on April 06

Everyone at AWA is excited to see which talented and determined climber will be leaving the Calgary Tower with those tickets! But of course the real winners on Saturday will be Alberta’s wild lands, wild waters and wildlife. All funds raised by climbers on Saturday’s event will be put toward the protection of these truly unique natural resources.

The Towerrunning Challenge kickoff in Macau on February 09
The WFGT Towerrunning Challenge 2014 kickoff in Macau on February 09

There will be plenty of other prizes handed out at the Climb and Run for Wilderness as well. We’re just as excited to announce our recent partnership with the Carbon Farmer, inc.! The Carbon Farmer, featured on CBC's The Dragon's Den, is based off of the Rabiey family farm just outside of Manning, Alberta. It is an initiative that is creating carbon offsets, providing vital habitat for boreal species, addressing climate change, and contributing in a healthy, sustainable manner to Alberta's important northern boreal forest.

The Carbon Farmer + C4W: Climb for the Grizzlies!

Every single climber who makes it to the top will get a tree planted on the Rabiey family’s farm on their behalf and be able to add their message to the AWA Forest when they get to the top of the tower on climb day. On top of that, they've kicked in some other awesome prizes for the competitors, including a Forest Family Pack for the top fundraising family, and 4 invitations to a select tree planting event with Arlene Dickinson for the top fundraising team!

As always, there will be plenty of other activities and entertainment open to the public as well. The 13th annual Wild Alberta Expo is filling out and we’re almost ready to announce who will be there. So even if you’re not up for climbing the tower (but you really should! It’s a lot of fun and great for your health!) we encourage you to mark April 26th in your calendar, and swing on down to the tower to check out the event, take in the murals in the stairwell, cheer on the climbers, and be a part of the Best Earth Day Event in the West!

World map showing Towerrunning Challenge locations


See more...

Go team go! 

Each year more than 25 teams participate in the Climb and Run for Wilderness’ Team Challenge. Some are out to set the record for the most climbs (currently held by Critical Speed with a staggering 108 climbs in 2007 – that’s more than 17,000 metres!); some are fundraising machines, raising thousands of dollars for wilderness; some are co-workers building some team spirit; and some are friends or families that love a good excuse to get active together for a good cause. Which one best describes you? If you haven’t already, grab three of your closest friends, family or co-workers and join the team challenge! Not only is it a great way to spend the day, but by introducing new people to the AWA you are helping us to spread our message of conservation and the joy that wild Alberta brings to us.

There are so many ways you can be involved in the team challenge:

-Challenge your company to sponsor your team. Cenovus and Suncor have already got teams registered – it is a great opportunity to gain exposure and publicity, as well as build employee morale and teamwork. Why not challenge one of your company’s other departments (it’s the accountants versus the marketers!)? Or another branch? Or even a competing company?

The Cenovus corporate team

-If you have kids in school why not organize a few teams from their class? The climb is a family-friendly event and a great way for kids to let off steam when the weather might not be conducive to playing outdoors. And there are lots of games and entertainers when they finally get to the top!

-Make this Earth Day event a family affair. We already have the Fricke's and the Fehr/Sherwood's ready for the challenge this year. A family that sweats together has a great day together! And it’s a fabulous way to get your kids excited about our big, wild backyard with lots of games, activities and exhibits.

The Rodney family making their way into the tower

-Gather up a group of friends, after all, it’s way more fun to chat while walking up the stairs in the Calgary Tower admiring the artwork than being on the treadmill at the gym!

Still need help convincing them? Here are just a few reasons why we made it on Chatelaine’s bucket list of the world’s best tower climbs:

-It’s a great way to kick-start that workout regime

-The stairwell is home to the tallest gallery in the west, thanks to the competitors in our annual mural competition (with 14 more murals added this year)

-The Wild Alberta Expo is a great place to learn about our wildlands and what we can do to protect them

-Fantastic local music at the top of the tower and lots of games for the kids

-Great prizes for athletic ability, fundraising success and team spirit

And of course, it’s for a great cause, protecting our wild lands and wild waters here in Alberta!

So convince your friends, co-workers and school-mates to dust off their running shoes and come out for a day of great fun supporting Alberta’s wildlands and wild waters. They can register at: http://www.climbforwilderness.ca/forms.php. We look forward to seeing you all on April 26 with new climbers in tow!


An Exciting Partnership with the Carbon Farmer! 

We're thrilled to announce our partnership this year with The Carbon Farmer for this year's Climb and Run for Wilderness on April 18, 2015. This partnership is sure to help increase awareness of wilderness, wildlife and wild waters in Alberta.

The Carbon Farmer, featured on CBC's The Dragon's Den, is based off of the Rabiey family farm just outside of Manning, Alberta. It is an initiative that is:

  • creating carbon offsets;
  • providing vital habitat;
  • addressing climate change;
  • contributing in a healthy, sustainable manner to Alberta's important northern boreal forest.

They've kicked in some awesome prizes for the competitors, including a Forest Family Pack for the top fundraising family, and 4 invitations to a select tree planting event with Arlene Dickinson for the top fundraising team!

On top of that, every single climber who makes it to the top will get a tree planted on the Rabiey family’s farm on their behalf and be able to add their message to the AWA Forest when they get to the top of the tower on climb day!

Registration is open now, so get your team together right away for one of Canada's premiere tower running challenge events - all for a great cause!

For more information on The Carbon Farmer, check out their page, or the Carbon Farmer Website.
For more information on the prizes they are contributing check out the Carbon Farmer Prize Page.


See more...

And the Winners Are... 

Fourteen excellent teams participated Saturday in the 13th Mural Painting Competition in the stairwells of the Calgary Tower as part of the 24th annual Climb and Run for Wilderness to be held April 18, 2015. Follow the link to the competition page to read more about the competition and all the winners, including the full stories behind each of their stunning murals.

The judges, David Harrison, Barry Marks and Natalie Marsh, had a tough time, especially in the Senior High School category where Creed McEachern Hunt took the prize for his expression of “ECCE HOMO”: Behold the Man.

Video clip of the Mural Painting Competition, courtesy of CBC
television. Click here for CBC's full story on the event

Creed wrote about his mural saying “we, as humans are just forces of nature; another tidal wave, another volcanic eruption. Behold the man, in his destructive valor. Our havoc that coats the Earth is just as much a part of Earth as fire, the aboriginal peoples and bison.” Click for larger version
Click for larger version In the Elementary School category, Nîtanisak -- “My Daughters” painted by Tarana Sharma is a deep, cool pond with fishes swimming by and water lilies so calm and unmindful, just doing their thing and enjoying life. “That is how I’d like to live ... float above everything,” said Tarana.
The Junior High School category was taken by Woolly Oak. Rosalie Cormier and Sravya Kakumanu, who have painted murals in this competition before, once again shone brightly with their winning painting of Inky Cap Mushrooms. Click for larger version
Click for larger version In the Family category, Team Rocky made up of Stephanie Thull and her father Todd took the prize with their rendition of a grizzly fishing in a stream and the Rocky Mountains in the background.
“Alberta Wild” was painted by Myriah Reed and Trish Polay, and now welcomes visitors to the Tallest Gallery in the West at landing 00A with a glorious Swianson’s Hawk, flowing prairie grasses and feathers. This marvellous piece is the winner in the adult category. Click for larger version
Click for larger version Finally, the Frosty Fishers who travelled from Pincher Creek to participate in the contest were part of the tightest decision judges had to make. Lauren Fisher and Amanda Frost called their mural

      “To See Before Being Seen”

and wrote: “Cougars are a very important part of our natural ecosystem, providing the environment a key species to maintain a balance of population. With the help of many other large predators in our province, these phantoms of the Rocky Mountains give Alberta equilibrium.” The judges awarded Lauren and Amanda an Honourable Mention in the Senior High School category.

Congratulations to the winners and to all the painters. Your murals are a lasting testament to the passion and concern we all share for keeping our wild spaces and wildlife wild. Thank you for taking a day to be part of this event and we hope to see you on the stairs on April 18, 2015 to enjoy the almost 200 murals gracing the Tallest Gallery in the West!


See more...

A BIG thank you to our wonderful sponsors and supporters 

Our biggest event of the year, the Climb and Run for Wilderness relies on our staff, more than 100 volunteers and our many sponsors and supporters to run successfully. AWA would like to take a moment to recognize our corporate sponsors and supporters. These are companies that recognize the value of the work AWA undertakes and supports the climb either financially or with the donation of goods or services. Some of our sponsors have been with us for many years and we are so grateful for their continued support. The fabulous coffee and muffins available at the bottom of the tower every year are generously donated by Dave Hockey, owner of Higher Ground, MEC and Gord’s Running Store have supplied fundraising incentives for our climbers for many years. So if you see Gord climbing with his family on April 26 or are at MEC or drop in for a great cup of coffee at Higher Ground, please say a big THANK YOU on behalf of AWA for their dedication to wilderness.

Steam Whistle Brewing is a returning supporter this year, and we certainly couldn't put
this event on without the ongoing support of the Calgary Tower!

We would also like to give a warm welcome to our new sponsors this year. The Carbon Farmer, of CBC television's Dragons' Den fame, is partnering with AWA this year and will plant a tree in each climbers name when they reach the top of the tower. The Carbon Farmer is also providing some terrific prizes for the awards ceremony. Fast Forward Weekly is also a new sponsor of our Louise Guy Poetry Contest and we are so honoured to have them on board! The winner, in addition to being published in the Wild Lands Advocate and having a plaque placed in the stairwell of the Calgary Tower, will have their poem published by Fast Forward. I hope all you poets have your creative juices flowing because the deadline for the poetry contest is April 17! Tetra Tech EBA is a new supporter too and they are working with us to make the event a Zero Waste event. Wait until you see the great reusable water bottles they are providing for sale!

Another way many companies support the climb is by entering a team – so far we have Cenovus with two teams, Suncor with one and Klopp Richards & Associates with two. Challenge your company to enter a team in the climb! Perhaps this year a team will beat the fundraising record set by EnCana in 2003 when they raised $7,570 for wilderness, or the most climbs by a team, set in 2007 by the Critical Speed team, which clocked 108 climbs – that’s an altitude gain of more than 17,000m!!!

The Cenovus team from 2013

Thank you once again to all our fabulous sponsors and supporters we really couldn’t do it without you! You can check out a list of all our corporate sponsors and supporters on the climb website.


2014 Mural Painting Competition — “Sneak-a-peek” 

Only a few more days until 14 teams of talented artists of all ages converge on the Calgary Tower stairwell for the 13th annual mural painting competition. Once again we are amazed by the talent of the artists who submitted applications, following the theme of “Alberta species in their native habitat.”

We have received many creative submissions depicting mammals, birds and plants so it will be another difficult decision for the judges this year to choose a winner. Prizes for the winners in each category (Adult, Senior High School, Junior High School, Elementary School and Family) have been generously donated by The Calgary Tower and will be presented after the climb at the awards ceremony on April 26.

Artists submitted their sketches to us at the end of February and we thought we would share a few of them with you to give you a taste of the fabulous artistry that will create 14 more murals in the Tallest Gallery in the West this Saturday. And Remember, the only way to see the finished murals is by joining us at the Climb and Run for Wilderness on April 18, 2015. Have you registered yet?


See more...

Only 50 Days to Go... Why not take a wander back through the last 23 years of the Climb and Run for Wilderness? 

Spring is right around the corner and the 2014 Climb and Run for Wilderness is just 50 days away! As the countdown to the 23rd annual event revs into full swing, we have been taking the opportunity to remember where we came from and have been inspired to share with you some of the stories and images from past years.

Whether it’s been dignitaries like Ralph Klein or committed athletes like Ammon Piepgrass, Audrey Lane Cockett and Jonathan Heinz; consistent, dedicated champions like Phyllis Hart, Richard Guy and Nessie Hollicky or first-timers and inspired youth like the Bear Cubs and Abigail Hadden, the years have been filled with some amazing participants. Those wonderful people have truly filled this event’s history with great moments and memories, some firsts and  many awe-inspiring athletic and fundraising feats. They have been the heart, the soul, and the core of this event, making it what it is today: an international event, and part of the World cup for Towerrunning!

So thank you to everyone who has helped us get here. To the people named in the above list, and especially the many thousands we couldn’t fit in: you are all celebrities to us!

If you’re one of those people who has come out to the Climb and Run for Wilderness before, you surely need no reminder that this Earth Day Celebration is a great opportunity to enjoy people, to learn and show you care about Alberta, our entire Earth, our wilderness, wild lands and wild waters, and all the wildlife that depend on them.

We look forward to seeing you again (or the first time, for some of you) this year. If you haven’t yet done so, it is of course never too soon or too late to register and collect sponsors for your climb or run.  It is going to be a great day with so many new innovations and memories for years to come.

We'll see you on the stairs!
A Glimpse into our Past

In 1992 Alberta Wilderness Association (AWA) was in the midst of a campaign called Special Places 2000 in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Seeking innovative ways to invite Albertans to learn more about our province and ways to protect it, AWA adopted the model of the WWF’s CN Tower Climb in Toronto. As it does now, the Calgary Tower supported the initiative without question, providing access to the staircases inside the tower.

That first climb was a modest affair with a handful of people, a small display on the street level about Alberta's Special Places and at least one important celebrity. Ralph Klein made it to the top that day showing his support for AWA’s initiative. It was the beginning of the run of our limited edition t-shirts and an event that has grown to be known as “The Best Earth Day Event in the West!

Fast-forward to 2013: Nearly 1,500 people climbed the tower in support of Alberta’s wild spaces last year and 140 volunteers made it all run smoothly. AWA’s small Special Places display has grown to a popular Wild Alberta Expo with more than 40 displays and booths from organizations across the city and the province, celebrating Alberta, those who work to protect it, and the wildlife and wild spaces that are so important to our future. As well, with nearly 200 murals along the walls of the stairwell, our mural painting competition has created the tallest gallery in the West; our wilderness poetry competition in memory of Louise Guy has brought out the best in Alberta poets; and clowns, games and live entertainment add to the fun for everyone.

Today and the Future

Over these last 23 years, the Climb and Run for Wilderness has not grown just in size. It’s become known as one of the world’s best family stair climbing events, providing an opportunity for competitors and folks from every walk of life to realize a common interest in the Earth and Alberta’s natural world. Last year we became for the first time a proud participating event in the Towerrunning World Cup, and this year are one of ten events selected to make up the World Federation of Great Towers’ Towerrunning Challenge 2014, a truly epic event spanning the globe, with the final finish line at the Empire State Building in New York City in early 2015 (the first-place finisher of the Calgary C4W leg will win a ticket to New York to compete).

As exciting as it is to be part of such an international community, though it is the local stories that are the most special. Through the years, many wonderful such stories have been created. The toughest climb ever was done in a wheelchair (can you believe it??) and the fastest climber in each of many years (including the record holder for most climbs in any year) is has been Jonathan Heinz. Jonathan has been the heart and soul of the C4W for several years and we expect to see him back again in 2014. (So if you want a shot at that ticket to New York - or any other of our many cool prizes - you’d best bring your “A-Game!”) Every year, our youngest and our oldest climbers challenge every fibre of the rest of us who stand in awe of their ability to climb those 802 stairs in celebration of Alberta and something truly important.

Speaking of something truly important, last year’s C4W even saw the tower being a participant in a very special event, as Brett Humphrey arranged for his girlfriend’s friends and family to drive down from as far away as Edmonton to be there at the top of the tower. After the two climbed those 802 steps together he popped the Big Question. Through ecstatic tears she managed a “yes” as he slipped the ring on her finger.

It’s those kinds of special memories that we hope to continue making this year and into the future, and we really hope you will be a part of it!

You can register online, or just come by the tower on April 26. We've been sending out brochures across the city far and wide over the last day or two, and will post a list on the website indicating where you can pick them up, as soon as we've received confirmation that they've all arrived.

As mentioned in previous newsletters, we have been working on a sincere commitment to be a zero-waste event this year and are asking all participants to remember that please: if you “pack it in, pack it home!”

But even with so many changes over the years, the goal of the Climb and Run for Wilderness remains the same. From our oldest climber (Richard Guy at 96 years) to our youngest (Josephine Dawson at23 months), from our most elite athletes to the folks who are more interested in appreciating the artwork on the wall than ticking off multiple ascents, we may all be at the tower on April 26 for our own reasons but will be working towards a common goal. Every year this event raises important funds (nearly $2 million in cumulative total so far) to help AWA continue working with communities; first nations; ranchers, outfitters and landowners; industry; government of all levels; and everyday Albertans like every single one of you, to keep Alberta’s wild spaces wild and beautiful.

We look forward to seeing everyone at the tower on April 26 for our best Earth Day celebration yet!


2014 Mural Competition: Just Over Two Weeks to Submit Your Entry! 

A quick reminder that there are just over two weeks left to submit your entry for the 12th annual Mural Painting Competition! The deadline for entry for all teams is February 20, 2014.

To inspire you, we suggest you check out this great YouTube clip of one of the many amazing teams during last year's competition; posted by our friends and hosts at the Calgary Tower...

You can find more information about the mural painting competition on the registration page or the competition page (which also has several great photos of last year's winning entries)...

Important dates:

  • February 20, 2014: teams to submit their registration form and preliminary sketch to AWA.
  • February 25, 2014: all teams will be notified of acceptance.
  • March 7, 2014: all accepted teams paint their murals in the Calgary Tower between 9:00 AM and 3:00 PM.
  • March 9, 2014: judging will be complete and winning teams will be announced (time to be determined).
  • April 18, 2015: prizes are awarded during the Climb and Run for Wilderness award ceremony at 12:30 PM.

Good luck to all entrants: we look forward to seeing you on March 7, 2014!


See more...

100 Days! 

100 Days!    With this week’s warm sunny Chinook weather, it makes it easy to believe that that’s all the time there is until we usher in springtime at the Calgary Tower.

As we climb the stairs, run the race course, and learn at the Expo, all the while celebrating Earth Day and Wild Alberta… On behalf of myself, the staff and every one of our dedicated volunteers I promise you an outstanding time at the 23rd annual Climb and Run for Wilderness!

We are all getting pretty excited as all the details unfold that make this huge event a great success year after year.
We have a number of new elements this year that we hope will contribute to an excellent day at the Tower for you, your family and friends:

  • For starters, you’ll notice a new athletic category, the Elite Stair Climbers Competition. For a fee you can have an express route to the elevators, helping you pack as many climbs into the day as you can possibly get through: this is for the truly dedicated! Space in this category is limited, with only 15 spots left, so make sure you reserve right away! (Unfortunately, this will mean no shortcutting to the front of the line this year for everyone else, sorry.)
  • For those of you who like collecting lots of online sponsorships, we’ve responded to your feedback about the process and revamped our website so that sponsoring a climber should be easier and smoother than ever! We’d like to hear how it goes for all of our climbers and sponsors, so please do let us know if it works better (or even if *ulp* it doesn’t)!
  • Also, 2014 will, for the first time, be a Zero Waste Event! Keep watching for more news on our “pack it in, pack it home” initiatives.

A few other updates for you:

Registration for the Mural Painting Competition is open now and you have until February 28th  to send in your sketch.
Online registrations are open! We have had a number of registrations and sponsors are already sending in donations! Our entire website is filled with great updates and information, and our online registration process is in full swing.

Stay tuned for updates and help us spread the word by letting  friends know they can sign up for this newsletter at www.ClimbForWilderness.ca (the sign-up form is over there on the right-hand side, below the social media feeds ---> ).

Speaking of social media, please do follow us on Twitter or Facebook. You can send me a tweet at and using the hashtag will help spread the word as we all count down the days to the very Best Earth Day Event in the West!

I’ll look forward to tweeting, emailing and speaking with you, and – of course – I’ll see you on the stairs!

Holly Shaw,
2014 Climb and Run for Wilderness Coordinator

(1/20/2014 5:25:33 PM)

Looking back on a great day... 

Here's hoping everyone's legs have recovered! We're busy at the office just getting that last bit of data entered into the system and those couple of outstanding sponsorships recorded. If you have any sponsorships that you haven't managed to get in to us yet, there's still time! We will be counting sponsorships for incentive prizes until the beginning of May or so, and all sponsorships we receive (no matter when) will be eligible for a charitable tax receipt.

In the meantime, official results are in and up on the results page. How did you do?

You can also check out your personal profile page, where you can download a PDF certificate to attest to your achievement on the day.

Finally, be sure to check out this great youtube video of the day, thanks to the great folks at the Calgary Tower. Three cheers all around!

And that's it for now. We'll be sure to see you again in 2014!


See more...

Event Times
All runners and climbers start at the base of the Calgary Tower at their designated times:
* Racers 8am prompt
* Teams 8:30am–12:30pm
* Individ. 8:30am–12:30pm
* Elite 7:30am–12:30pm
(Registration ends 10:00am)
* Full Activity Schedule

Sign Up for C4W e-News!

* required field



Email Newsletter by VerticalResponse